Blaine's Travels

Cuba IV: Havana!

Cuba IV: Havana!
Cuba IV: Havana! The day we arrived in Havana, two events took place, and they both enhanced our exciting experiences in the country’s capital. Secretary of State John Kerry re-opened the American Embassy after almost 60 years, and it was the first night of Carnaval! The city was abuzz with excitement and the spirit was infectious. Havana: fabled tropical metropolis…

Cuba III: Trinidad de Cuba

Cuba III: Trinidad de Cuba
Back in the Hyundai with Umberto at the wheel the next morning, we left Camaguey and headed for Trinidad de Cuba on the central southern coast, the city that time has passed by.  As we approached several hours later, the climate and land changed to humid air and verdant, rolling hills, where we experienced our first tropical downpour of the…

Cuba I: Santiago — A City of Rhythms

Cuba I: Santiago — A City of Rhythms
Sitting on the tarmac in Miami on Sun Country Airlines flight #67 bound for Santiago de Cuba in mid-August, I was giddy with excitement and anticipation with the long-anticipated trip to this neighboring island country, long off-limits to most Americans. My partner Rick and I were fortunate that our friend Alan from San Francisco, whose Cuban partner, since passed, still…

Myanmar — Part II: Inle Lake

Myanmar — Part II: Inle Lake
Located in Shan State, Inle Lake is a sprawling 45 square-mile (116 sq. kilometers) shallow body of water, whose shores are dotted with four towns and many villages. Fishing, hydroponic farming, weaving, and silversmithing are among the main industries in the region. Shan State is home to many ethnic minorities in Myanmar -- Shan, Chinese, Thai, Mongol, and Indian. In…

Myanmar: Yangon

Myanmar: Yangon
Minga la ba!  That's 'hello' in Burmese, our guide taught us immediately when he picked us up from the Yangon airport.  Our friends Eva and Suresh were arriving late in the evening, so once settled in our hotel, Rick and I set out to explore this one-time capital of British-occupied Burma from the mid-19th to mid-20th centuries when it was…